Oscars 2018: Shape Of Water and winner’s victory lap fail to overshadow industry’s abuse and abusers

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The 90th Academy Awards took place last night

The 90th Academy Awards took place last night

Guillermo del Toro and South Americans win big at The Oscars, yet Getintothis’ Kieran Donnachie insists there’s no escaping the darker side of Hollywood.

It’s difficult to truly enjoy the Oscars, especially at 4am and there’s yet another ad break starring the actors you just saw extolling the virtues their chosen art form.

The whole affair is completely mastaburtory, wall to wall back-patting despite years of the Academy being dragged kicking and screaming into equality and modernity. Personally, this writer rarely tunes in, but we hoped this year would somehow be different.

The Great Tyrant Harvey Weinstein has been slain, Hollywood now lives in a post-sexism utopia. In reality, however, he’s safe behind the walls of a sex addiction clinic, and everyone still applauds the clips from Roman Polanski films.

The closets have been flung open but the odd femur and skull remains.

The core narrative going into the ceremony is the #MeToo movement. While it didn’t originate there, many women within Hollywood used their platforms to help spread it to many other public and private industries.

If you were counting the amount of men picking up awards compared to women, it would seem dire.

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Gender diversity within categories was minimal. This is not to be put solely at the judge’s doorstep however. As far as financially successful films goes women make up around 20% of the people working behind the camera, and 34% of speaking parts in front of it.

Those kinds of stats do not change in a year, it’s a cultural one.

Thankfully it is one that the Academy is making. The Oscars rightly championed women from behind and in front of the camera with many first time nominations for the likes of Greta Gerwig (director and writer of Lady Bird) and Rachel Morrison (cinematographer for Mudbound).

The victories of the night do tell one story however, one that will be overshadowed and yet is important nonetheless.

South America, and more specifically, their immigrants won big. Both The Shape of Water and Coco took awards across multiple categories. The sheer joy of Gael García Bernal, Guillermo Del Toro and Oscar Isaacs, as their peers took stage was infectious.

It’s almost easy to forget the hall of people in well cut suits and slowing gowns facilitated people like Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and countless other abusers. Many also benefited from collaboration and the willful ignorance that came with it.

The Oscars was not a victory or a celebration. It was a sober reminder that many still choose to be diplomatic about the predators in their industry.

It was a “difficult” task for host Jimmy Kimmel to open such a politically charged Oscars, according to some at least. There is no difficulty in calling out the abusers, the exploitative and the obviously criminal.

The awards are a focal point for many of the conversations around film. The medium will always produce works that reflect on the politics of the day, so expecting the Oscars to remain apolitical is ridiculous.

Accusations of tokenism and political correctness will certainly arise in the wake of these awards. Tokens are worthless however, and these statues are recognition for the winners and inspiration for everyone else.

Nonetheless the evening remains a commercial endeavour. There’s sponsors to please, ad money to collect. Nominees and winners both return to cinemas for a victory lap, “Academy Award” in gold font is embossed onto their DVD covers, and countless more dreamers flock to the industry.

Cheap, nameless and naive labour for next year’s winners. You won’t make it if you don’t try. For us.

The winners of the 90th Academy Awards:

Best Motion Picture – The Shape Of Water
Best Leading Actress – Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri)
Best Leading Actor – Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)
Best Supporting Actor – Sam Rockwell (3 Billboards)
Best Supporting Actress – Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Best Director – Guillermo del Toro (The Shape Of Water)
Best Animated Feature – Coco
Best Animated Short – Dear Basketball
Best Adapted Screenplay – Call Me by Your Name (James Ivory)
Best Original Screenplay – Get Out (Jordan Peele)
Best Cinematography – Blade Runner 2049 (Roger Deakins)
Best Documentary Feature – Icarus
Best Documentary Short – Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Best Live Action Short – The Silent Child
Best Foreign Language Feature – A Fantastic Woman
Best Film Editing – Dunkirk (Lee Smith)
Best Sound Editing – Dunkirk (Richard King, Alex Gibson)
Best Sound Mixing – Dunkirk (Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landarker, Gary A. Rizzo)
Best Production Design – The Shape of Water (Set Production: Shane Vieau, Jeff Melvin; Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry)
Best Original Score – The Shape of Water (Alexandre Desplat)
Best Original Song – Remember Me from Coco (Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez)
Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Darkest Hour (Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick)
Best Costume Design – Phantom Thread (Mark Bridges)
Best Visual Effect – Blade Runner 2049 (John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover)

 

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